Say no longer that God is invisible. Do not speak thus, for what is more manifest than God? He has created all only that you may see it through the beings. For that is the miraculous power of God, to show Himself through all beings. For nothing is invisible, not even the incorporeal. The intellect makes itself visible in the act of thinking; God makes Himself visible in the act of creating.
— Corpus Hermetica
One of the most powerful, widely recognized symbols in the Hermetic and alchemical arts is the rose. Mentioned in a recent Freemasonry article, “Scottish Chemistry Survey of Alchemical Symbols in the Lodge of Perfection of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite” by Russell R. Boedeker, the rose “is a symbol of completion, attainment, and perfection. It can also be an emblem of regeneration.”
And as discussed earlier, the central symbol of the Rosicrucian fraternity is a hieroglyphic rose crucified upon a cross. Rosicrucian author Fra. Thomas D. Worrel, VII° explains the rose’s symbolism as being paradoxical and, “at once a symbol of purity and a symbol of passion, heavenly perfection and earthly passion; virginity and fertility; death and life.
“The rose is the flower of the Goddess Venus but also the blood of Adonis and of Christ. It is a symbol of transmutation – that of taking food from the earth and transmuting it into the beautiful fragrant rose. The rose garden is a symbol of Paradise. It is the place of the mystic marriage. In ancient Rome, roses were grown in the funerary gardens to symbolize resurrection. The thorns have represented suffering and sacrifice as well as the sins of the Fall from Paradise.
“In the Mysteries,” he continues, “roses were sacred to Isis. It is also the flower of her son Harpocrates or younger Horus, the God of silence.
“Numerologically, the rose represents the number five. This is because the wild rose has 5 petals. And the petals on roses are in multiples of five. Geometrically, the rose corresponds with the pentagram and pentagon. Our teachings state: ‘No.5 is the emblem of Health and Safety; …it represents Spirit and the four elements.’”
In fact, in some circles, the rose has come to be the symbol of the fifth element: Spirit.
Tomorrow, we’ll examine this further.